14 Things Your Electrician Wishes You Knew (To Save Money and Your Home)

SAVING & SPENDING - BUDGETING & EXPENSES
Avoid common pitfalls that could lead to expensive electrical repairs.
Updated April 9, 2024
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A DIY approach works for many home improvement tasks. You can paint furniture, swap out hardware, or even replace the tile in your bathroom.

But messing with electricity has bigger repercussions. Hiring a professional for these tasks is always the right move.

Of course, you want to avoid wasting money by not spending more than necessary. Here are some things your electrician wishes you knew to help you save money and avert disaster.

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If you notice something, speak up

JackF/Adobe elderly woman talking with plumber

It’s easy to ignore things like a strange noise or an extraordinarily hot light switch. You may notice them, realize they seem off, but then fail to report the problem.

Any electrician will tell you these are things you should not ignore. As soon as you notice an issue, say something. These could be warning signs of a more expensive and dangerous problem.

DIY repairs could cost more

Friends Stock/Adobe handyman setting new sockets

Unless you have extensive experience tackling electrical and wiring projects, taking a DIY approach to an electrical project is a mistake.

You'll likely end up making the situation worse and having to bring in a professional to undo and redo the work. Hiring a skilled electrician immediately helps you get the project done right the first time.

Only use a licensed electrician

Pixel-Shot/Adobe female electrician wearing working uniform

If you try to save money by hiring an unlicensed electrician, you could end up spending more in the long run.

An electrician’s license is there to hold them accountable to certain standards. If they don’t have a license and something goes wrong, you might not have any recourse.

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Make sure the area is ready to work

Angelov/Adobe installing and connecting a lamp

Your electrician is probably charging you hourly, so make sure the area is ready for them to work in.

Clear out any mess and have the lighting fixture, wires, or whatever is being worked on ready to go.

Upgrading your system could save money

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe electrician repairing electrical box

Technology can be a beautiful thing — especially when it means making your home more efficient.

Upgrading your electrical system might mean switching to a newer, more energy-efficient system that uses less electricity. This translates into a lower bill for you.

Electrical systems need maintenance

Andrey Popov/Adobe technician repairing elevator

It may come as a surprise, but electrical systems need maintenance, just like HVAC systems.

Having electrical systems routinely checked and paying for occasional smaller tune-ups can save you from major, costly repairs in the future.

Don’t turn off your main breaker first

NC Photo/Adobe shutting off main circuit breaker

Switching off the main breaker is tempting when you'retackling an electrical project. It seems like the obvious first step.

Instead, you should turn off all the miniature circuit breakers before turning off the main breaker. If you don't, the entire electricity load could overload the panel, which means you will have a pricey house call from an electrician.

Be aware of GFCI outlets

astrosystem/Adobe fixing wires in the wall

The outlets in wet spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens are different. Typically, these are ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets that will shut off as soon as the circuit loses amperage.

Other outlets on the same circuit will also shut off if that happens. If you don't realize that's what's going on, you might think you have a major electrical problem. In reality, your outlets functioned exactly as intended.

Save your big projects for the winter

WONG SZE FEI/Adobe contractor checking out house renovation

Waiting until the slow season usually saves you money, and it's no different when it comes to hiring an electrician.

If you can wait, save your project for the winter. That is when your electrician's work is slower, and they might cut you a deal.

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Don’t wait until the end of the day to call

New Africa/Adobe electrician repairing power socket

If you call your electrician toward the end of the day with an emergency, you could end up paying extra for overtime.

Requesting 4 p.m. service after an electrician and their team have put in a full day could be costly for you.

Buy the supplies the electrician requests

auremar/Adobe assistant seller helps buyer

It may be annoying when an electrician asks you to buy a part or a replacement before they show up, but you probably should.

If you don’t get the part, the electrician will have to go out and get one. That means you’re getting charged for another visit and the part.

Hire someone from your area

AntonioDiaz/Adobe handyman installing a ceiling fan

Travel time and costs add up. If you opt for an electrician who is three towns over, that could add a significant upcharge to your bill.

Label your circuits

The Toidi/Adobe resetting tripped breaker

In the spirit of efficiency, label your circuits. That will help you to have a better idea about what is going on when a circuit blows. It will also help your electrician know exactly what to work on.

Again, the quicker an electrician can get in and out, the less you will pay.

Don’t tape down a circuit breaker

Lost_in_the_Midwest/Adobe resetting a tripped breaker

If a circuit breaker keeps popping up, don’t tape it down. Yes, it’s annoying, but there is a reason it keeps tripping.

Call an electrician before you end up in a worse — and possibly more expensive and dangerous — situation.

Bottom line

Krakenimages.com/Adobe worker smiling holding a phone

Switching out a light fixture can be an easy DIY project. In addition, knowing how your circuit breaker functions can be helpful.

Beyond that, however, it is best to bring in a professional for electrical projects. A skilled and trained electrician can ensure your home is safe, eliminating your concerns and helping you keep more cash in your wallet.

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Author Details

Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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